just a thought


Freddie deBoer used to blog at lhote.blogspot.com, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

Related Post Roulette

26 Responses

  1. E.D. Kain says:

    This actually reminds me of some people around here and their attitudes toward Native Americans. Nearby Sedona, AZ is perhaps the most patronizing, condescending town on earth when it comes to mythologizing the “noble” Navajo. Very similar mindset, in any case.Report

    • Sully Fick in reply to E.D. Kain says:

      I couldn’t agree more (I lived in Mesa for 10 years ’85-’95, and worked in Sedona quite often on film/tv crews). Watch out for the vortexes! 😉

      When I visit AZ (my Dad lives there), more and more of Phoenix seems to be turning into a surreal “white man’s” version of Native American design and culture. At least, that’s how it seems to me – though I left when Phoenix was still rather small, comparatively – and I spent time on the rez with friends.

      There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man’s notion that he is less savage than the other savages.
      – Mark Twain


      • E.D. Kain in reply to Sully Fick says:

        Phoenix is really just huge now, and there isn’t so much of a sense of it being anything than sprawl, though yes, anywhere in Arizona you run the risk of encountering too much turquoise or other Southwest kitsch. Sedona is worse because you have all these rich white people pretending they have a clue and can somehow tap into Native spirituality. Penn & Teller go there often for their show Bullshit, because there is just so much of it there. It’s bad in the academy around here as well, though my multi-cultural lit professor was fantastic and I took many classes on Native American literature that were top-notch.Report

        • Sully Fick in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          The closest I got to tapping into Native American sprituality was during a documentary of the Anasazi that I worked on.

          We were up on top of a mesa northwest of Phoenix in the deep desert, filming at dusk (most film crews come to Arizona for the light – “magic time” as dusk is called). We filmed some Native Americans around a bonfire doing some dances and singing. Quite beautiful and moving.

          But, that wasn’t the spiritual moment. It was after almost everyone had left, and a few of us were still packing up. The sun goes down fast when it hits the rim, and it got almost pitch black in the course of 30 minutes or so. I was hiking back up the mesa to get the last of the stuff and I looked up at the sky and fell upwards into it…..

          If you’ve never seen the sky in Arizona on a warm summer night – away from all the city lights – then I can’t really describe the feeling to you. But I can say, I never had that feeling again until I looked in the eyes of my son when he was born. And, then the eyes of my second son when he was born. You fall in….and you’re not really “you” anymore.


  2. Will says:

    I don’t understand this argument.

    I think conservatives/libertarians are defending the townhall movement on the grounds that – however embryonic and unformed their objections may be – the protesters are expressing real anxieties about the direction of health care reform. I don’t deny there has some fetishization of the protesters as latter day Minutemen/revolutionaries, but I think it’s possible to defend their right to express these concerns without lapsing into patronizing sentimentality.

    Also, since when has a fully-formed “constructive argument” become the litmus test for taking protests seriously? Protests are made for sloganeering, chanting and activism, not reasoned policy discussions. It’s like you’re prepared to read these people out of the conversation because they don’t come equipped to the fray with Brookings white papers on health insurance premiums.Report

    • Lev in reply to Will says:

      The standard isn’t that they have their own white papers ready to go on health care reform–it’s that they are protesting things which are being considered by Congress and are not figments of Glenn Beck’s imagination. I think it’s great that people speak their mind in public, but I don’t think that it’s too much to ask in a democracy that people who are doing some activism ought to actually know the facts, and I don’t think it’s too much to expect people to act like civil human beings when talking with one another.

      I largely agree with Freddie–there really is no there there, and I think the paranoia is being stoked by the conservative-industrial complex that wants to sell more ad time and books. There are certainly valid complaints about healthcare reform, and once people start making them, I’ll take them seriously.Report

      • Will in reply to Lev says:

        Other than the example of a few nutjobs on CNN, how do you *know* that people are also expressing legitimate concerns? Honestly, I’m curious. Or are we all just pretending to be telepathic?Report

    • Freddie in reply to Will says:

      the protesters are expressing real anxieties about the direction of health care reform.

      They’re largely expressing nothing at all, beyond utterly unfocused anger. If they can come even close to the bar for what I would call an actual argument, I’d be happy to hear it. But all I ever hear, ever, during these town halls is, “USSR socialism freedom the constitution the flag.” It really is that empty.

      since when has a fully-formed “constructive argument” become the litmus test for taking protests seriously?

      I don’t know what fully formed means, but my answer is, “since always.” If they can’t articulate even a vague notion of what exactly they stand for or against, then yes, I’ll dismiss them. Just like I would for any blogger or pundit or columnist or guy I met on the street.Report

  3. Freddie says:

    Other than the example of a few nutjobs on CNN, how do you *know* that people are also expressing legitimate concerns? Honestly, I’m curious. Or are we all just pretending to be telepathic?

    It’s not a few. It’s the content of every person who has stood up and speechified while purportedly asking a question at these town halls. I’ve watched dozens of videos of them, and not once– not once– have I heard an even elementarily convincing argument against the health care reform we’re debating or health care reform in general.Report

    • Will in reply to Freddie says:

      So despite reports of successful, courteous townhall meetings (http://briefingroom.thehill.com/2009/08/12/mccaskill-on-her-town-hall-terrific/) and the fact that many of the disruptive participants are LaRouche extremists (http://washingtonindependent.com/54801/lyndon-larouche-and-the-hitler-meme), you’re ready to tar every protester with the same brush?

      And even if many of these people are misinformed or simply ignorant, I daresay they have a right to get some explanation of a massive, thorough-going reform of the health care system from their duly elected representatives.Report

      • Freddie in reply to Will says:

        you’re ready to tar every protester with the same brush?

        I am ready to expect from them the same minimum level of argument and logic that I expect from every adult.

        I daresay they have a right to get some explanation of a massive, thorough-going reform of the health care system from their duly elected representatives.

        They have a responsibility before they do so to take advantage of the mountain of information available to them to learn a certain basic minimum of information on the subject. You know, like, “there aren’t actually going to be death panels.”Report

  4. Bob Cheeks says:

    I think what annoys ‘liberals’ is the very real possibility, if not probability, that what we are witnessing is the ‘tip of the iceberg.’ Not so much a ‘pro-conservative’ phenomenon as it is an anti-liberal reaction to BO’s agenda.
    The fact that BO is sending out his brown shirted goon squads (Core) and union thugs to counter these people has the very real potential to ratchet up the debate and provide for the possibility of violence.
    This incident, I think, speaks to BO’s leadership abilities…e.g. he isn’t one.Report

    • Freddie in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Yes, the iceberg of the entitled conservative white demographic. As I will persist in saying, that is a rapidly shrinking portion of our electorate. And that, I think, is exactly what drives all this anger.Report

      • EngineerScotty in reply to Freddie says:

        We heard largely the same nonsense from the same crowd when Clinton was in office. Black helicopters, FEMA concentration camps, UN takeovers, socialism, you name it. OK, nobody accused Bill of being a foreign-born Muslim, but beyond that…
        Strangely, all the militias and all the so-called civil libertarians put down their guns and bullhorns with W got elected.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to EngineerScotty says:

          Bullshit. Civil libertarians were screaming about the 1st Amendment (McCain-Feingold), the 2nd Amendment (the White House Counsel’s attitude toward Heller), the 4th Amendment (the drug war), the 8th Amendment (Abu Ghraib on up), the 9th Amendment, and the 10th.

          I’m one of the folks who thought that Bush signing with signing statements to laws that he said he thought might be unconstitutional, he just wouldn’t enforce the unconstitutional parts was an impeachable offense. I thought the guy should have been impeached after McCain-Feingold.

          When mentioning such to folks, the left tended to say “why that and not a real reason like ‘he’s a war criminal’?” and the right explained that a democrat would be worse.Report

          • EngineerScotty in reply to Jaybird says:

            I’m not (necessarily) talking about you, Jaybird; there are many principled Libertarians who opposed Bush.

            But there are many many many many many more who only give a flying fuck about civil liberties when there’s a Democrat in the White House. There are many folks out there calling themselves Libertarians whose only liberty-related concerns are low taxes, minimal regulation on how they conduct business affairs, and the RKBA–but beyond that, frankly don’t give a shit.
            And more than a few of the “liberty” types were just as hard on Bush 41 as they were on any recent Democrat to hold the office, but were ecstatic with the election of his prodigal son.
            For every principled Libertarian at the tea parties, or objecting to Obama-care, I bet there’s ten right-wing whackjobs who are pissed as hell that a non-Bible-thumping Harvard man, one who isn’t interested in prosecuting their apocalyptic culture wars and theocratic agenda (at home and abroad)–let alone one who has black skin and a foreign sounding name–occupies the Oval Office. For every Ron Paul supporter denouncing the President’s agenda, I’d wager there are ten Palinites.
            You know it, I know it. And this is why many on the left are leery of Libertarians–for so many in your camp (again, not necessarily you), it’s all about guns and gold. Frankly, Thoreau would vomit were he to see some of the nonsense that gets peddled in his name today. (As would Jesus, but when you’re a religious figure held out to be a deity, having blood spilt in your name comes with the territory). Thoreau would have wiped his ass with Atlas Shrugged had he lived into the 20th Century and had a chance to read it.

            While I don’t doubt your libertarian bona-fides, far too many libertarians tolerate the utter nonsense that comes from the political right, while being quick to denounce anything with a whiff of “statism” that comes from the left side of the aisle.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to EngineerScotty says:

              While I cannot say that this person is a libertarian, that person is a bad libertarian, and that other person isn’t a libertarian at all (that drives me nuts in religious debates, after all), the sweeping generalizations of “the (group) thought this when (so-and-so) did (such-and-such) but they aren’t saying anything now!!!” is, usually, a crock.

              It’s like asking Freddy to defend statements made by someone else. “You democrats thought it was fine to mock Trig’s parentage!”

              If someone, specifically, is a jerk then *CALL THEM A JERK*. *THAT* is the problem. Get one jerk at a time to feel shame. To say “you people” in front of people who ain’t is no way to change minds.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to EngineerScotty says:

              Having cooled down, yes, I see your point.

              For every person who cares about stuff like spending, there are dozens who pick it up as a convenient club with which to beat the opposition… and then, when it ceases to be convenient, they drop it.

              Principle is picked up, you hit the other person with it. When your party gets in power, the discussion then becomes “Principle is all well and good but politics is the art of the possible and things really are very complicated and you have to understand that there are multiple sides to every issue and so on and so forth and etc.”


              When I argued against right-leaning folk, I couldn’t believe the amount of power they wanted for the feds. “You know that the pendulum will swing back, right?”

              “Permanent Republican Majority! Hey, we should get rid of the filibuster!!!”

              And now the pendulum has swung back. Of course, the republicans are now saying how important the filibuster is to the process.

              And the democrats are arguing that, seriously, we need to get rid of the filibuster.Report

              • EngineerScotty in reply to Jaybird says:

                If you are a “true” Libertarian, the GOP is not your friend.

                Neither are the Democrats, of course–there is rampant hypocrisy on both sides of the ideal.

                But the GOP base, what’s left of them, doesn’t strike me as interested in liberty. Liberty for them, maybe; but not for all of us.Report

              • Sycophant of the Bourgeois in reply to EngineerScotty says:

                As a libertarian that generally puts me against whichever party is in power. For the last 4 years I regularly watched Olberman/MSNBC and tore my hair out at O’Reilly/FOX. Now it’s virtually the opposite.

                Libertarians really tried to put a foot out to Liberals. I’m sure many of the people here read about Wilkinson, and Liberaltarianism. I’m still of that ideology. Not particularly interested in guns, religion, and preventing others from having sex. But when you start selling my kids down the river to pay for your ridiculous self defeating social welfare programs and paying off wall street donors, a split in the Senate and a relatively anti-war president is the best I can hope for. 2010 is shaping up to be a decent year.Report

    • deb in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Heh–what a great example of what we were talking about. “Brown-shirted.” “Goon squads” “Thugs.” Compelling argument. I’m so afraid.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    Are we back to seeing democracy as a bunch of howling idiots screaming incoherently?

    That didn’t take long.

    I keep with my original theory that Obama did not benefit from a mandate quite as much as the American people throwing the bums out. If it turns out that they don’t like the new bums, they’ll likely throw those bums out too.

    That probably shouldn’t be interpreted as a mandate either, for the record.Report

    • EngineerScotty in reply to Jaybird says:

      The howling idiots have always been there, and are frequently good at getting noticed.
      To what extent they dominate the political discourse and agenda, is another matter.
      The vast majority of voters don’t howl noticeably, and aren’t idiots however…Report

  6. Nob Akimoto says:

    I don’t think an extraordinarily vocal minority of crazy people shouting down everyone else counts as seeing democracy as a bunch of howling idiots screaming incoherently.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      Why haven’t more (exceptionally vocal) people who want to protect The Children been going to these town halls and shouting the nuts down?

      Is it because those people all have jobs and the only people with the free time to show up to these boring things are the right-wing crazies who have been reading Alinsky?Report

  7. Sycophant of the Bourgeois says:

    Change! Yes we can!

    I’m searching the archives. I can’t seem to find a post of any liberal criticizing their incoherent rallying cry.Report